NECA wants firms to negotiate fees with banks

NECA-DG-OSHINOWOTHE Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has advised firms to negotiate current account maintenance fees with their respective banks.

NECA expressed “grave concern” about the likelihood of some organised businesses losing revenue to commercial banks, through “un-negotiated current account maintenance fee, in contravention of the directive of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on maintenance fee”.

According to NECA, the CBN had released a ‘Revised Guide to Bank Charges’ on March 27TH, 2013 “in which it expressed the resolve to gradually phase out Commission on Turnover (COT) until it achieves a zero charge by 2016”.

However, NECA explained that in a sudden twist to the policy thrust, the CBN granted a negotiable current account maintenance fee not exceeding one naira (N1) to the Banks on January 29, 2016.

Speaking in Lagos, the Director General of NECA, Olusegun Oshinowo said: “we have noted that many companies are yet to explore the window of negotiating the current account maintenance fee with their Banks. The maximum rate of N1 is the ceiling and it is expected that clients would negotiate with their Banks acceptable rates below the ceiling”.

He urged companies to approach their Banks and insist on negotiating the rate downward from one naira (N1), adding that, “this is in line with the guideline of the CBN”.

Oshinowo recently challenged the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige to work closely with other ministries as part of measures to ensure condusive business environment.

According to Oshinowo, such collaboration if well harnessed is capable of facilitating the desired enabling environment “that will ensure business sustainability, competitiveness and job creation”

Oshinowo in a statement also expressed his disagreement with the Minister on his reported directive to Private Sector Employers, especially the Oil and Gas Companies, not to sack workers “even in the face of dwindling oil price at the international market and massive loss of profitability by the Businesses”

Oshinowo said: “We have noted the recent meetings of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, with Employers’ representatives in some sectors of the economy and his directive not to retrench”.

He added: “The Minister seems not to have shown an understanding of the fundamentals of managing a business in an economy that has been bedevilled by a drastic fall in the price of crude oil, scarcity of foreign exchange and gross erosion of purchasing power. The truth is that retrenchment is not a palatable option for any business. No employer will take pleasure in declaring redundant employees which it has invested in developing over the years.”

Making reference to job security, he said: “Job security cannot be decreed by Ministerial pronouncements but can only be encouraged and promoted through strong macro- economic fundamentals and an enabling environment.

“The voice of the employers reminded the Minister that it is part of the inalienable right of an employer to determine the optimal staff level it will need to sustain its operations.

Where an Employer has found it necessary to carry out retrenchments, it would respect the laws of the land and laid down procedures for redundancy, “ Oshinowo added.

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